Note to Self–Chapter 4

When a land developer unveils plans to raze a local eatery, thirteen-year-old Arturo must prove how important his family's restaurant is to his community.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. flamboyant
    tending to attract attention; marked by ostentatious display
    The only thing I’ve learned from this crazy course of events is that no matter how much we try to believe David beat Goliath, the reality is that the big guy always wins. Even if the big guy is actually a five-foot-three, flamboyantly dressed land developer with stupendously gelled hair.
  2. stupendous
    so great in size, force, or extent as to elicit awe
    The only thing I’ve learned from this crazy course of events is that no matter how much we try to believe David beat Goliath, the reality is that the big guy always wins. Even if the big guy is actually a five-foot-three, flamboyantly dressed land developer with stupendously gelled hair.
  3. clan
    group of people related by blood or marriage
    She looked happiest when the entire Zamora clan crammed itself into La Cocina.
  4. cram
    crowd or pack to capacity
    She looked happiest when the entire Zamora clan crammed itself into La Cocina.
  5. urn
    a large vase that usually has a pedestal or feet
    My dad brought out the urns containing my abuelo, tío abuelo, and my tatara abuelo (yes, my great-grandfather) and carefully lined them up on the small service bar next to the dinner table, where we would eventually sit for our meal.
  6. honorary
    given as an award without the normal duties
    Mop and Bren were honorary Zamoras and almost always attended Sunday dinner.
  7. barely
    in a sparse or scanty way
    Bren had been in love with my cousin Vanessa for as long as I could remember. She barely knew he existed.
  8. orientation
    a course introducing a new situation or environment
    “As the official orientation liaison to Sunday Family Dinner at La Cocina de la Isla, I’d like to welcome the Sánchez family! Carmen, you and I were, like, six when you last came to Miami, right?”
  9. liaison
    a means of communication between groups
    “As the official orientation liaison to Sunday Family Dinner at La Cocina de la Isla, I’d like to welcome the Sánchez family! Carmen, you and I were, like, six when you last came to Miami, right?”
  10. lanky
    tall and thin and having long slender limbs
    This was not the lanky, mutant-fast cheetah girl I used to play tag with years ago.
  11. vortex
    a powerful circular current of water
    I didn’t know what to do, and if it weren’t for Aunt Tuti, I might have been caught in a vortex of my own confusion and despair.
  12. despair
    a state in which all hope is lost or absent
    I didn’t know what to do, and if it weren’t for Aunt Tuti, I might have been caught in a vortex of my own confusion and despair.
  13. hysterical
    characterized by a state of violent mental agitation
    “Tuti,” my mom started, “please don’t get hysterical.”
  14. grumble
    make complaining remarks or noises under one's breath
    A few people grumbled because they knew once the meal was over, they were going to have to start cleaning the restaurant for service the next day.
  15. awning
    a canvas canopy to shelter people or things from rain or sun
    The lot was visible from where we stood, with only five small tables and a green awning in our way.
  16. illuminate
    make lighter or brighter
    I followed her and took in the mostly dark lot that was illuminated by one streetlamp on the far corner.
  17. ladle
    a spoon-shaped vessel with a long handle
    I noticed Mop trying to get a spoonful of congris, but he couldn’t get to the ladle in time.
  18. inequity
    injustice by virtue of not conforming with standards
    We’d all laughed, and Mop had decided that he would “henceforth be known as Mop, because I shall clean the earth of all its inequities!”
  19. hue
    the quality of a color determined by its dominant wavelength
    Every bright hue imaginable covered every inch of the interior.
  20. vibrant
    (of colors) bright and striking
    My dad had had the walls repainted recently, and even though the paint had already faded a little, it still looked vibrant and fresh.
  21. muster
    summon up, call forth, or bring together
    “Huh?” is all I could muster.
  22. hierarchy
    a series of ordered groupings within a system
    As a dishwasher, I was at the very bottom of the kitchen hierarchy, so I needed to follow the rules and not mess up.
  23. gauge
    an instrument for measuring and indicating a quantity
    There were more levers, buttons, and gauges than the mission control center at NASA.
  24. distribute
    administer or bestow, as in small portions
    “This. Is El Monstruo. Mess with it. And it will eat you. Pull this lever. Press this button. Wait for the cycle to finish. The rack spits out. The dirty water drains. More blue water fills up the tray. Slide another rack into the blue cleaning soap. Dry the rack that comes out. Put it on this dolly. When the dolly is stacked with racks, roll it out and give it to the busboy. The busboy distributes everything to the restaurant. You do it all over again. Think you can handle that, Churroso?”
  25. scoff
    laugh at with contempt and derision
    Martin glanced over and scoffed, pointing to a tiny speck on one of the plates.
  26. plantain
    starchy banana-like fruit
    “Do you think our customers are going to like grime with their plantain mash, Churroso?”
  27. dense
    having high compaction or concentration
    I found out later that the pots and pans got a steam in El Monstruo and then were cleaned with olive oil before the restaurant opened, because cast iron is dense and takes time to heat up.
  28. slouch
    assume a drooping posture or carriage
    Even though she was older, she hardly ever slouched.
  29. pendant
    an adornment that hangs from a piece of jewelry
    She either wore lots of jewelry—always her shiny silver necklace with cross and oval pendant—or silky scarves with colorful prints.
  30. cursive
    handwriting in which letters are connected within words
    Behind me, the kitchen doors swung open, and my mom walked through, wearing her signature uniform: a bright-orange chef coat with Cari in fancy cursive on the upper left side.
  31. flail
    thrash about
    Aunt Tuti started flailing her arms, and my mom kept shaking her head while watching Abuela happily chat with a couple.
  32. insist
    be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge
    She followed my mom to the kitchen but insisted on talking to everyone on the way.
  33. slender
    having little width in proportion to the length or height
    Abuela was tall and slender, and my mom was much shorter and had powerful hands and a strong build.
  34. impeccable
    without fault or error
    Abuela told me she was tired as she looked back at the impeccably dressed man.
  35. apprentice
    someone who works for an expert to learn a trade
    I had the master key because another one of my summer jobs was assistant apprentice super for my family’s complex.
  36. revolutionary
    a radical supporter of political or social change
    Marti was a revolutionary hero in the Cuban War for Independence against Spain in the late 1800s.
  37. boutique
    a shop that sells women's clothes and jewelry
    It looks like it could be a boutique clothing shop. The sign looks flashy.
  38. flashy
    tastelessly showy
    It looks like it could be a boutique clothing shop. The sign looks flashy.
  39. cease
    put an end to a state or an activity
    Bren, if your clothes get any brighter, the sun is going to cease to rise.
  40. literally
    without exaggeration
    You will literally cause the next ice age.
Created on July 16, 2018 (updated July 23, 2018)

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